Researchers take a closer look at sitcom dad portrayals over the years

Erica Scharrer

New research by Communication Professor and Chair Erica Scharrer, along with current and former doctoral students, explores why sitcom fathers have continually been portrayed as inept. Scharrer studies gender and the media, and specializes in depictions of masculinity. In a new study, Scharrer and co-authors systematically looked at the ways in which portrayals of sitcom fathers have and haven’t changed.

Scharrer writes that when sitcoms stereotype fathers, they suggest that men are not suited to be parents. “That sells actual fathers short and, in heterosexual, two-parent contexts, it reinforces the idea that mothers should take on the lion’s share of parenting responsibilities,” said Scharrer.

The study which appeared in The Conversation, is coauthored by current and former doctoral students: Sarah Cho, Eean Grimshaw, Gichuhi Kamau, Menno Reijven, Steve Warren, and Congcong Zhang.

Read the full article online.